My Miz Winnie

My Miz Winnie

Monday, January 3, 2011

Laguna Atascosa NWR-Part III

Some of the scenery from Laguna Atascosa

Friday, December 31, 2010

Laguna Atascosa NWR-Part II

Laguna Atascosa is home to tropical birds that you won't see elsewhere in the United States.

Some of those birds are
(The first two photos were taken in March)

Green jay

Plain chachalacas

Great kiskadee

Monday, December 27, 2010

Laguna Atascosa NWR-Part I

The reason for going to South Padre Island wasn't to see the tourist trap. The reason was Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

On the most southern tip of Texas, along the shores of the Laguna Madre, dense patches of thorny brush rise among unique wind-blown clay dunes called “lomas.” In a region of Texas some call the last great habitat, thorn forest intermingles with freshwater wetlands, coastal prairies, mudflats and beaches. Here, where tropical and temperate zones overlap, the endangered ocelot silently hunts within the brushlands, white-tailed deer browse on a banquet of plants, aplomado falcons soar above the grasslands and nearly half of all the bird species found in the continental United States rest, feed, nest and migrate.

Laguna Atascosa is home to three endangered species. The Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the Aplomado falcon, and the Ocelot
South Texas, Laguna Atascosa NWR in particular, is the last stronghold in the United States for the ocelot, a small cat that once roamed from South Texas up into Arkansas and Louisiana. This species has been reduced to approximately 50 animals in the United States. This is due primarily to loss of habitat.
The dense thorn forest that once covered much of the Rio Grande delta is hunting ground for the small, nocturnal cat. With the clearing of the brushlands, ocelots are forced to cross open fields and risk the dangers of vehicular traffic and predators, such as dogs. Increasingly isolated on these ‘islands of brush’, the ocelot’s genetic viability is of growing concern to biologists.

Throughout the refuge there are these signs

I believe that I saw an Ocelot. The last day I visited the refuge I was leaving the refuge at dusk (the story of that late departure will be the subject of another post) and a catlike critter crossed the road in front of the car. He paused briefly on the other side of the road and looked back at me. I grabbed for the camera, but by the time I had it in my hands, he had disappeared into the undergrowth. Would have loved to have proof, no matter how crummy, of what I saw.

One of the very common birds on the refuge is the Northern mockingbird. The mockingbird was named as the state bird of Texas in 1927.

More posts on the refuge to come.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

South Padre Island-Part III

Drum roll....

My favorite photo from South Padre Island

The rest of the South Padre Island photos are here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

South Padre Island-Part II

While the beautiful beaches and weather draw many to South Padre Island, many come because it is a place that caters to tourists. Much of it colorful, or gawdy. How better to draw the attention of the tourist, than to paint the building for your business bright colors?

Some of them offer t-shirts for $1.99 and sweatshirts for $3.99. Wonder how well they survive their first trip through the washer? Does the irony of the name of this tourist trap appeal to anyone else?

The name of this establishment amused me

The paint has faded on this building, but I like the water tower that shows through under the thatched roof on the left. I believe that the water tower is for the Border Patrol Detention Center. That center was previously known by many as the Border Patrol Academy.

I'm going to do one more post with my favorite photo from South Padre Island.